Monthly Archives: October 2012

Owner Review: Walz Cap, Wool Four Panel Cap

You lose a lot of heat from the top of your head, which is why beanies are so useful in winter. Instead of wearing a thin merino beanie under my helmet, I figured I would try a wool cycling cap. We are heading in to summer in Australia now but I figured that I would still use it on cold winter mornings.

I ordered this cap from a boutique cycling cap maker in the USA, Walz Caps.

At the moment they have a deal – a wool cap and wool DeFeet sock combo for $39.95, which can be found by clicking the ad at the top of Yehuda Moon. The hat by itself can be had for $29.95.

They don’t charge for postage which is a plus for international buyers. They send it the slow way, but it still only took a couple of weeks to arrive in Australia.

I wear the cap under my helmet, it keeps my head warm, keeps the sun glare out of my eyes, and in winter I am hoping that the brim is just enough to stop raindrops from running into my eyes.

It was very handy for the early starts at the Ride to Conquer Cancer where it kept my head toasty warm for the first 30ks or so each day. It didn’t get damp from sweat, even when it started getting a little warmer. When I was done, I just folded it up and shoved it into either my jersey pocket, or my top tube bag (which at the time was a Tioga Fuel Tank, I will review that at a later date).

The cap was so comfortable that when we got back to camp and the sun went down, I put it back on and wore it in the mess tent at breakfast. We were given a ‘Conquer Cancer’ cap but that felt kind of stiff and irritating after wearing soft wool.

I ordered the Small sized DeFeet socks but they are a bit loose on my very small (size 38) feet. They are thin and breathable, not really winter socks but fine for the transition seasons. The advantage of wool socks of course is that they don’t stink up. They are not my favorite wool socks, that position is currently held by Icebreaker.

I would definitely order another cap from Walz Caps, they have many other styles and they have different materials too. Still not too sure about the socks though!

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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Reviews


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Ride to Conquer Cancer – Video Summary, Day 2

Here it is, the next instalment from the Ride to Conquer Cancer. This one is a slightly longer video as the scenery was a little more variable on Day 2. Hope you enjoy!

N (and many others) have been scouting around for coverage from the mainstream media and found nothing. Whilst that is slightly disappointing, at least we have the Internet. People who were at the event can cover the event, and I think that is truly great.

My workmates are all starting to complain because my fundraiser chocolates are no longer in the common kitchen. They say I should do the ride again next year and reinstate the chocolate supply. I am thinking that we might volunteer next year for a different experience and perspective.


Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Charity Rides


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Ride to Conquer Cancer – Video Summary, Day 1

I ran a GoPro on my handlebars for the ride – there were no charging facilities at camp, so I borrowed a couple of batteries from a friend. I ran the GoPro battery bacpac for 3 hours of battery time, and then swapped them over on Sunday so I had a fresh set.

Stay tuned for Day 2.

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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Charity Rides


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The Sunsuper Perth Ride to Conquer Cancer – 2012 – Ride Report

It is over, and I am a little sad. I need another big cycling event to train for, and need to up the ante somewhat. We completed the ride comfortably, with a average moving speed of around 23 kph on the first day and 22 kph on the second.

I dropped our bags off on the Friday afternoon before the ride, with the trusty xtracycle. I rode it to work loaded and left our gear and the bike in the bike cage downstairs. Fortunately Friday is a quieter day so there was room.

Our bags were a bit bulky, but nothing compared to what some other people bought along! I used the packing list they provided as a guide but didn’t bring everything they specified. I did bring an extra pair of shoes for around camp though, and these turned out to be the only superfluous item as they gave us a little bag when we arrived at camp with thongs in it. It also had ear plugs and an eye mask. They were important items if one hoped to get any sleep at camp, and you will see why when you see our photo of camp!

We rode to the start at around 6am on Saturday morning and the place was buzzing. Volunteers were cooking up bacon and egg rolls, and there were people everywhere. The ‘sweep’ car volunteers were dressed up in elaborate clown outfits. There was a guy there with a 1970s chopper bike, and another guy with a giraffe type unicycle. There were old mountain bikes, and flashy carbon road bikes. There were people with spokey dokes on their roadies. The self-identified cancer survivors had big yellow flags attached to their bikes, and there were at least 25 of them. There were 1,200 riders ready to start and we had raised a total of $4.6 million for cancer research at the WA Institute of Medical Research (WAIMR).

They closed Canning Highway temporarily to facilitate all of the riders getting out of the start area. It was very congested, and as expected, there were a lot of riders having problems with their cleats. The chopper bike was on the side of the road with a mechanical very early on, which was sad, but we later saw him at the very beginning of day 2. I am not sure how many kilometres he pedalled but he must have gotten a lift with the sweep vehicles!

By the time we got to South West Highway, the congestion had eased a little and it was easier to go at our own pace. We headed on to some quieter country roads, like Hopelands Road, and it was quite pleasant. The only problem for me was that the road surface was very coarse, and the vibrations caused me some issues with body/bike contact points. I could feel my cleats burning a hole through my shoes, and my saddle was not very comfortable either. My hands were OK though, I just made sure I moved them around a lot.

We rolled into Pinjarra at about 12.30, and there were already a few riders back. We had stopped for lunch at Karnup at about 10.30, so we were hungry, but when we went looking for food, all they had were museli bars and chips. Everyone was scrounging. There was no announcement about dinner over the PA but we noticed a line forming over by the mess tent at 4.30 so we ran over there. I filled my plate up as high as it would go and at it all, except for a bit of the roast beef as it was as tough as an old leather boot. Then we got desert!!! It was wonderful.

Our tent was in a great position – it was on the edge and it was furtherest away from the bar/dining/entertainment tent. It was also pretty close to the toilets. Everyone was pretty quiet and respectful once in the tents, but they had the oval lights turned on, so it was like daylight outside. They had the crew and the riders all mixed up together, and the Crew had to get up at 3.30 or 4am to go to their meetings and get breakfast ready, and with all the sound and movement, everyone else got up as well. We had set our alarms for 5.45 but I was up and had packed my sleeping bag, pillow and thermarest sleeping mat by 5.15. There was bacon and eggs for breakfast, but I wasn’t that hungry after being such a pig the night before so I just had some muesli. There were coffee trucks providing the hoards with their caffeine fix, and they made me a beautiful flat white.

I saw some really tall guys around camp and I wondered how they fit themselves into the little pop up tents. There were a couple of people who bought their own tents and set up, I think they may have been riders who were doing the ride solo but who didn’t want to share with a random (it was two people per tent, no exceptions, so if you were alone they would randomly allocate you a tent mate). I noticed later that there were quite a few couples where one was riding, and one was doing the crew work, so they could obviously share a tent and spend a bit of time together in the afternoon/evening.

There were also a few people who bought old canvas swags along. Good for them there weren’t too many mosquitos around.

Day Two had it’s high points and low points. They allowed the riders to leave on their own time within a half hour window between 6:45 and 7:15. This mitigated the congestion a little bit, but the problem was that they had routed us along the Kwinana Freeway bike path! The bike path was congested, and there were a lot of groups of guys who thought it as OK to overtake three abreast. There was little regard for riders who might be coming in the other direction!

I was just saying to N that we should back off a bit and let the crazy guys get far ahead of us to stay out of trouble, when one of the guys clipped a wheel, ended up wobbling across the path of all the guys behind him, and slamming another guy into the fence. He hit it fairly hard. A few other riders stopped to help out so we kept going, not wanting to contribute to blocking the path even more. People around us seemed to settle down after that.

When we got to Paganoni Road, we saw the half Ironman guys on their bike leg. They were the elite guys who would have been the first out of the water, and they were very, very fast. After that we were back on the road, and it was quite pleasant. We headed to the coast, and rode around from Point Peron to Rockingham. Lunch was at Rockingham near the grain loader. The ride got a bit ugly after that. We went along the coast via Cockburn Road, but you didn’t really get to see the coast line and the traffic conditions were not great. There was no overtaking room on the shoulder which was very narrow in places, so you had to pick gaps in the 90 kph traffic to pull out and get past people.

Fremantle was the last pit stop, then we headed back in towards the city. I really quite enjoyed the little rolling hills on the way back, but a lot of the riders did not.

We ended up riding with two other girls, and there were not many other riders in our immediate vicinity. We then were routed back on to the freeway bike path, but that was OK this time because of how strung out everyone was. By the time we got to South Perth there were a few more yellow Ride to Conquer Cancer jerseys. As we arrived at the finish line, the music was blaring and the MC announced all our names. There were quite a few supports hanging around and they were generous with their applause. We rolled in at about 1pm and it felt like we were in the front half of the pack. The last riders came in at 4.30pm – it must have been a hard slog for them!

I took the Gopro along for the ride and I am editing together a video. I had 4 batteries and a 64GB card, there were no charging facilities at camp. I managed to get quite a lot of video, so it’s going to take a while. Stay tuned for it, hopefully it will be worth the wait.


Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Charity Rides


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The Perth Ride to Conquer Cancer – Route Map

This week we were emailed the route, and there are designated “cheering stations” which are marked on the map. Here is the link to the map on google.

I am all ready and rearing to go but the route is going to be interesting. I guess there will be partial road closures, and I’m not sure how many people are going to drop out on the second day – there is the option to put your bike on a truck and get a ride back to the finish line.

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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Charity Rides


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Bonus Cherries!

These are on the underpass that I ride through twice a day near East Perth. I don’t know how long they have been there, but one day I just happened to look up at the right angle.

I love this kind of street art, it is so subtle, but it made my day when I first saw it. Now I look up at it every time.

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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Commuting, Reasons to Ride


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Training: Perth Ride to Conquer Cancer

I am pleased to announce that I have made my fundraising minimum for the Perth Ride to Conquer Cancer. Training is going well too, as you can tell via the graph below, plotting my actual kilometres against the 1,000 km goal.

Last weekend topped it off with a 135 kilometre ride from our place, down the freeway, and a loop to Rockingham. We rode down Safety Bay Road to Point Peron, along the foreshore to Rockingham’s cafe strip, then back to the freeway via Wellard Road.

I found the route on the Department of Transport website here. The Safety Bay Road ride involved a rather skinny sealed shoulder at one point, and then on the Rockingham side of Warnbro Station there was a nasty roundabout crossing that felt like a game of ‘Frogga’ where you are a frog that has to dodge the cars to get across the road. It was very busy.

We stopped for lunch in Rockingham and watched the little yachts racing in the bay. There were a lot of bikes rolling past, and dogs of all sizes as well. It was quite a busy little strip and the weather was perfect.

The route back via Wellard Road involved a really crazy intersection between Kwinana Beach Road and Patterson Road which I would not recommend cyclists turn right at, as directed by the map online!

Wellard Road has a good shoulder and would be a good ride if it wasn’t for the road works that are happening closer to the Freeway which have covered the shoulder with rocks and dirt. Also, to get onto the Freeway shared path, you need to be on the dual use path once you are on Bertram road, which is also ripped up due to roadworks. We had to get off our bikes and walk them through the sand to get there, otherwise we would have ended up on the Freeway proper.

We took a little break at the water fountain just north of Cockburn Central, and I needed to stretch out a little.

I am not planning on doing quite so many kilometres in October because I’m planning on tapering a little the week before the Conquer Cancer ride. Longer distances are certainly getting easier and I am really enjoying being fitter and faster when I am commuting and running errands on the bike. I will have to pick a new challenge after the Conquer Cancer ride to keep up my motivation levels. Any suggestions?

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Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Charity Rides, cycling


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Ride to Work Day – 17 October

It is ride to work day on the 17 October 2012. Go here to sign up for your free breakfast!

I don’t know if anyone is interested in the minutiae of how various office workers commute to work by bike, but sometimes I just roll my eyes at the excuses people come out with.

“But my shirts will get wrinkles”
“There are no shower facilities or lockers at my workplace”
“It’s too far”
“It’s too much hassle to get organised in the morning”

I have been commuting by bike to work for the majority of my 15 year working life. The circumstances, jobs and distances have changed. At the moment I have the following advantages:

Secure bike cage to leave my precious bicycle.
A beautiful longer route to work (15.7kms one way), or a shorter route (8.7km) both of which are on bike paths which are separated from motor vehicles, but shared with pedestrians.
A flat commute where the only hills are ramps up to bridges.
Flexi-time, so I do not have to arrive or leave from work at a set time – hence I can wait until the rain blows over, within reason.
A city with a beautiful, and mostly mild climate.

I have the following disadvantages:

Showers and lockers are inconvenient to access as they involve climbing up and down a couple of sets of stairs. Lockers are controlled via a system that I don’t quite understand.
I am not a morning person, so any kind of variation in routine means that I’m likely to forget something.

So what do I do?

I put my office gear in my pannier bag the night before – I roll my shirt and pants and they usually come out looking fine. I also chuck my wallet, access card and whatever else I will need that day in there.

In the morning I tumble out of bed, eat toast and drink coffee, pull on some regular, but sporty clothes and trundle in to work.

I don’t bother with showers. I don’t think it’s necessary. In summer I will use some sports-oriented deodorant, but otherwise I just get to work, carry my pannier into the disabled toilet on my floor, it takes me about 10 minutes to get changed, and I’m ready for work.

Most people don’t even realise I ride to work every day unless they happen to see me in the bike cage in the basement.

So put away the excuses and get on your bike. Free breakfast is worth it.


Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Bike Parking, Commuting


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